Jesse Cole

Jesse Cole

Owner | Savannah Bananas

Jesse's favorite quote speaks to what has made his businesses so insanely successful: "Whatever is normal, do the exact opposite." Jesse started with nothing but debt, challenges and a dream. Jesse's story and his business growth expertise makes business owners think way the heck out of the box. He has them take their eyes off the bottom line and instead figure out what excites the customer. He asks owners to find their own yellow tuxedo.

Jesse Cole founded Fans First Entertainment, which operates the Gastonia Grizzlies and the Savannah Bananas, multi-million dollar baseball teams that he built from scratch.

When he joined the industry in 2008 as General Manager of the Gastonia Grizzlies, the team had barely any attendees and was hemorrhaging money. It was here that Jesse started breaking the rules.He created a circus like atmosphere at his ballparks.From dancing players, Grandma Beauty Pageants, and Flatulence Fun Nights to Porta-Jon giveaways and garbage can nachos, he has tried it all.

The “show” worked and the Grizzlies began breaking attendance records annually. In 2014, Cole bought the Grizzlies and started Fans First Entertainment.

In 2015, the Coles started a new Coastal Plain League team in Savannah, GA. Jesse pulled out all the stops and pushed customer experience and innovative entertainment over the top.He named the team the Savannah Bananas and donned his first yellow tuxedo. From there, the team quickly became a hit all over the country, receiving coverage from national media outlets, including ESPN, CNN, and Good Morning America. Merchandise sold to all 50 states and 6 countries.

In the first year, the team sold out 18 of 25 games and broke the attendance record for both Grayson Stadium and the Coastal Plain League. To top it off, the Bananas won the Coastal Plain League Championship.

Jesse is just getting started. His teams are continually reinventing as they look to change the baseball industry and the entertainment experience for fans. He lives the mantra “if it’s normal, do the exact opposite.”

Cole’s passion is to provide fun for as many people as possible and to inspire other business owners to break the rules. Be different, stand out and go bananas!

Tuesday, Day 2
3:30pm - 4:15pm

Be Different, Stand Out, and Go Bananas

Main Stage

Standing out among the crowd - how to grow your business by doing non-traditional things